- Cambridge-Isanti Schools
- Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
District and school leaders are partners in creating a strong system of support for all students. We have many of the programs that support students at all levels. A Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) in Academics relies on tiers of instruction that work together as a safety net to prevent students facing detrimental challenges in their academic careers. Cambridge-Isanti schools have systems in place which support the practice of providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals, and applying child response data to important educational decisions.
Multi-tiered Systems of Support benefit students and teachers at all levels of instruction and are designed to help every student succeed and for every teacher to know to help students be successful.
The programs listed below are systems Cambridge-Isanti Schools have in place to provide such supports.
C-I Schools Support Systems
Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services (ADSIS)The purpose of Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services (ADSIS) is to provide instruction to assist students who need additional academic or behavioral support to succeed in the general education environment. The goal is to reduce the number of referrals to special education by providing supports early to struggling students. Districts are expected to align the ADSIS program within their existing continuum of supports and collect data as specified in the application and submit evaluation information to the Minnesota Department of Education each year to determine program impact.Minnesota Statutes, section 125A.50, details the specific requirements and funding authority for ADSIS.Contact:Tammy Kraft, Federal Programs Coordinator
American Indian Education
The Cambridge-Isanti Schools has created a comprehensive plan for our families with American Indian heritage. Our goal is to improve Native student achievement and graduation rates through culturally responsive instruction, student engagement and collaborative partnerships between parents, schools and community.
Cambridge-Isanti Schools participates in a state program for American Indian education. Each year, the school district works jointly with our American Indian Parent Advisory Committee (AIPAC) to develop the District Indian Education Program Plan (IEPP) which is submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education for approval.
Our American Indian Parent Advisory Committee (AIPAC) meets four times a year and welcomes and encourages our families to participate.
Tammy Kraft, Federal Programs Coordinator
In the fall of 2015, we began to implement our Blended Learning Plan which provides more access for students to learn through the use of digital medium and cloud computing. This first phase of implementation involves an increase in access to devices throughout all K-12 grades. During the 2018-19 school year, Cambridge-Isanti Schools implemented a 1:1 of Chromebooks in grades 3-12. Students in grades 3-5 will continue to utilize the Chromebooks in a classroom cart model. Students in grades 6-12 bring their Chromebooks home which provides them with the following blended learning benefits:
- 24/7 access to curriculum and instruction
- Further utilization of individualized learning paths and differentiation
- Impacting lives through relationships as modern educators who create a dynamic learning experience for students.
Ray Sperl, Technology Coordinator
Data and Assessment
Throughout the course of the school year students will participate in a variety of tests and assessments. Oftentimes, parents and community members ask why there are so many different assessments, what is the difference between the assessments, and how these assessments impact instruction.
The assessment of student understanding is essential to the educational process. Teachers use a variety of assessment data on a daily basis to monitor student understanding and individually adjust instruction to meet the needs each student. We believe that all students can learn and that "Every Student, Every Day" matters. Cambridge-Isanti Schools support using multiple pieces of information when evaluating student learning. Standardized tests are only a part of the total system of results used by teachers and administrators in planning and implementing educational programs for our students. Teachers, grade level and department teams, and curriculum teams use assessment results to map out strengths and areas of need for individual students, groups of students, and curricular programs. This continual monitoring and adjusting of instruction is important, necessary, and effective work.
The variety of assessments that are used throughout the course of a year are important because they provide information to the teacher and student in regard to student learning and achievement. Summary achievement information on all standardized tests is reported each fall to the community as part of the Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Achievement.
Patrick Morrow, Data & Assessment Coordinator
English Language Learners
The ELL Program at Cambridge-Isanti Public Schools was developed using state and federal guidelines with additional professional input to support English Language Learner (ELL) students who are learning English as a Second Language (ESL). The main goal of the ELL program is to provide students who are learning English with the support they need to reach their fullest potential in school.
Licensed ELL teachers and support staff, in collaboration with classroom and content area teachers, work to provide grade-appropriate learning in all academic coursework while developing their English language skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
ELL students are monitored and assessed to determine their progress in the classroom and English language acquisition. Test data in conjunction with teacher and parental input determine the necessity and level of ELL service.
All students learn and acquire English at various rates depending on age, native literacy, and time in the country. On average, students will be in an ELL program for three to five years or more. Initially, most students receive direct instruction. Direct instruction comprises a mix of individual or small group pullout instruction to support their English development. Direct instruction may also be working in the classroom with a student or small group of ELL students to support their learning in a content or mainstream class.
Students are exited from the ELL program when they are considered 'at grade level' in addition to parent and teacher input. They will no longer receive any extra help from the ESL teacher . The state of Minnesota tracks exited ELLs for two years. This two year period is called Monitor.
Tammy Kraft, Federal programs Coordinator
Gifted & Talented
The goal of the Cambridge-Isanti Gifted & Talented Program will be to assist gifted students in developing intellectual and academic abilities. With this goal in mind, Cambridge-Isanti Schools is in the midst of researching gifted & talented programming as well as the criteria needed and selection process used to enter the program. Research is being done regarding the special strategies being used for the gifted and talented population. The program will utilize both a differentiation model in the classroom and a pull out or enrichment program during the day. The district will continue to discuss opportunities for accelerated core curriculum options in grades 7-12.
During the 2019-20 school year, Cambridge-Isanti Schools will pilot the The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) in grade 5. CogAT measures abilities across the symbol systems that are most highly correlated with fluid reasoning, problem solving, and success in school. With its separate measures of Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal reasoning, this research-based and proven test provides multiple perspectives on student ability across grades K–12. The information from this assessment will provide one data point, among several, for determination of advanced acdemic programming in middle school.
Opportunities for academic extensions are available in our schools, through in-school experiences or after-school academic clubs and activities. Many students have the opportunity to participate in regional, state and national academic competitions, further developing their skills and talents.
Academically Advanced Learners
Children who demonstrate exceptional performance in one or more academic areas are considered ‘Advanced’. Exceptional performance includes proficiency in tasks at least one grade level above and possessing and/or applying knowledge in transformative, complex ways. Academic extension, academic enrichment and independent investigations are options that serve academically talented students at the K-5 level. Honors and accelerated courses strive to meet the needs of academically talented middle school students. CIHS offers various choices for students to maximize their path, pursue their passions and prepare for post secondary options.
Intellectually Gifted Learners
Children who demonstrate significant advanced problem solving and an ability to synthesize knowledge with high levels of divergent, critical, logical, and abstract thinking are often considered ‘Gifted’. These learners have IQ scores two standard deviations or more above the norm and are capable of high performance on reasoning tasks when compared to their age appropriate peers. Enrichment and extensions are available for students, and success paths can be planned with parents to ensure a partnership is formed for greater individualized support.
Design criteria for identifying students who demonstrate exceptional abilities and require support beyond the mainstream grade level content. Major components of the identification methods include:
- Academic performance - coursework
- Standardized measures of progress
- Success outside of school
- Students from underrepresented populations (such as children of color and children from low socioeconomic backgrounds)
Develop and expand programming in the areas of academic, creative, artistic and leadership so that we address the advanced abilities of identified gifted/talented students. Cambridge Isanti Schools will explore:
- Differentiated resources, instructional strategies and assessment options in all grade levels for gifted/talented students.
- Specific training for school personnel in differentiation and advanced training for individuals providing instruction to gifted/talented students.
- Parental awareness of the varied needs of gifted/talented children.
- Community insight to guide the planning, development and implementation of programs for gifted/talented students.
- Options for acceleration in grades 7-12 core academic areas as well as leadership opportunities with peers and within the district.
The role of instructional technology in the classroom continues to expand and evolve as teachers seek to individualize and maximize student learning.
What is Instructional Technology?
- Instructional technology involves using an assortment of teaching tools to enhance student learning. Past classroom technology included transparencies and overhead projectors, film strips and projectors, and slideshows. In today's classroom, these tools may include a range of items, from calculators and PowerPoint presentations, to laptops and other electronic devices.
In the virtual or e-learning environment, instructional technology encompasses computer-based courses, online resources, and synchronous (real time or direct) and asynchronous (indirect) teaching and learning. Synchronous learning requires participation in events such as live discussions, chat sessions, or real-time lectures. Asynchronous learning materials are available online at the learner’s convenience, and include such items as assignments, resources, discussion boards, and previously recorded lectures or presentations.
Technology in the classroom has changed dramatically over the last 20 years with the increase in use of mobile devices and the utilization of information acquisition from the internet. Many schools are taking advantage of and seeking ways to blend the learning environment. This leads to the implementation of virtual, digital, or e-learning opportunities. Students in the 21st Century are expecting access to instruction and classroom resources in a 24/7 environment.
How Instructional Technology Enhances Education
Instructional technology is more than the implementation of digital textbooks. The digital age has brought more and more technology to the forefront in regards to technology access in the classroom. The U.S. Department of Education recognized the importance of incorporating technology in the classroom when it released its National Educational Technology Goals in 2000.
According to various reports and highlighted in the previously mentioned government report, instructional technology provides the following benefits and outcomes:
- Increased access to ongoing, updated information and knowledge
- Acquisition of information literacy
- Elevated retention rate of materials studied
- Improved comprehension of difficult concepts
- Higher test scores
- Preparedness for the workforce
Ray Sperl, Technology Coordinator
Integration and Inclusion
Cambridge-Isanti Schools is committed to looking at all district work and initiatives through a lens of racial equity so that all learners have the skills, opportunities and access to experiences that will help them reach their full potential and achieve success. Cambridge-Isanti Schools will partner with families and the community to gain a better understanding of and eliminate barriers rooted in racial constructs and cultural misunderstandings that can interfere with a student’s learning or reduce his/her willingness to persist academically. By applying this lens of racial equity and cultural understanding to all teaching and learning experiences, Cambridge-Isanti Schools will be able to achieve its mission of educating all learners with the skills they need to thrive in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse, global society. Achievement & Integration work is based around providing students and staff with cultural competency skills and closing the achievement gap.
The Integration and Inclusion focus areas include:
Student Centered Programming and Services
Cambridge-Isanti Schools will provide students with access to educational resources, opportunities and alternatives as well as creating a school environment in which children of diverse backgrounds feel welcome, respected, and accepted. Surveys will be conducted on how students perceive their school culture in order to inform district decisions about student access. The district also provides support to students and their families to help bridge the gap in equity and access. Examples include: scholarships for program participation, English Language programming, counselors and/or social workers in each school, reduced fees for activities and Early Childhood, a homeless liaison, American Indian Education Advisor, etc.
Staff are expected to ensure academic achievement for learners from diverse cultures, incomes and ability levels. We will be accountable for growth in student achievement and setting guidelines for support when students face a challenge. Teachers and staff will continue to learn about cultural differences in order to address their own beliefs about student learning and how they facilitate the classroom environment. The district will address the needs for training of staff by examining the yearly professional development focus areas. The Teaching and Learning Advisory, made up of staff, parents and community members, will be responsible for endorsing staff training, curriculum, and school initiatives related to integration and inclusion.
Family and Community Engagement
We will engage families as essential partners in supporting academic achievement for learners by putting into operation programs, and procedures for the engagement of parents in all schools. Those programs, activities, and procedures will be planned and operated with meaningful consultation with parents of participating children. We will offer opportunities for regular meetings to formulate suggestions and to participate, as appropriate, in decisions relating to the education of their children, and to respond to any such suggestions as soon as practicably possible.
Dr. Brenda Damiani, Director of Teaching & Learning
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
What is School-wide PBIS?
One of the foremost advances in schoolwide discipline is the emphasis on schoolwide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments. Instead of using a piecemeal approach of individual behavioral management plans, a continuum of positive behavior support for all students within a school is implemented in areas including the classroom and non-classroom settings (such as hallways, buses, and restrooms). Positive behavior support is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments that improve the link between research-validated practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occurs. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining Tier 1 supports (universal), Tier 2 supports (targeted group), and Tier 3 supports (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all children and youth by making targeted behaviors less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional.
Why is it so important to focus on teaching positive social behaviors?
Frequently, the question is asked, "Why should I have to teach kids to be good? They already know what they are supposed to do. Why can I not just expect good behavior?" In the infamous words of a TV personality, "How is that working out for you?" In the past, schoolwide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies including reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective. Introducing, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important step of a student's educational experience. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding. The purpose of schoolwide PBIS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm.
What is a systems approach in school wide PBIS?
An organization is a group of individuals who behave together to achieve a common goal. Systems are needed to support the collective use of best practices by individuals within the organization. The schoolwide PBIS process emphasizes the creation of systems that support the adoption and durable implementation of evidence-based practices and procedures, and fit within on-going school reform efforts. An interactive approach that includes opportunities to correct and improve four key elements is used in school wide PBIS focusing on: 1) Outcomes, 2) Data, 3) Practices, and 4) Systems. The diagram illustrates how these key elements work together to build a sustainable system.
- Outcomes: academic and behavior targets that are endorsed and emphasized by students, families, and educators. (What is important to teach particular learning community?)
- Practices: interventions and strategies that are evidence based (How will you reach the goals?)
- Data: information that is used to identify status, need for change, and effects of interventions. (What data will you use to support your success or barriers?)
- Systems: supports that are needed to enable the accurate and durable implementation of the practices of PBIS. (What durable systems can be implemented that will sustain this over the long haul?)
Resource credit: https://www.pbis.org/
Tammy Kraft, Federal Programs Coordinator
Read Well by Third Grade
Brenda Damiani, Director of Teaching & Learning
Reading and Math Corps Services
Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC)
- Minnesota Reading Corps is a strategic initiative of ServeMinnesota, demonstrating how service and science can accelerate improvement in both students and systems. By mobilizing the people power of AmeriCorps, the Reading Corps provides evidence-based literacy interventions and data-based assessments to children from age three to grade three.
- Using the latest research on reading intervention strategies and guidance from literacy experts, Reading Corps is a critical link in literacy acquisition. It provides what struggling readers need - individualized, data-driven instruction, one-on-one attention, well-trained tutors, instruction delivered with fidelity, and the frequency and duration necessary for student achievement.
- For teachers, regularly delivering individualized, one-on-one instruction can be difficult, if not impossible. Because Reading Corps tutors are focused solely on providing reading support, they can target instruction and dedicate the time needed for each student.
- Tutors commit to a year of AmeriCorps service, receive rigorous training and ongoing support throughout the year from literacy coaches, and use assessments to ensure their efforts produce the desired results - helping children achieve grade-level reading proficiency.
- Watch the PreK model in action and the K-3 model in action!
Minnesota Math Corps (MMC)
- Minnesota Math Corps is an AmeriCorps program that provides trained math tutors for students grades four through eight.
- Math Corps tutors are trained with the skills necessary to assist students in becoming algebra-ready by eighth grade and to help set up students for success in a world increasingly dependent on understanding math concepts.
- Minnesota Math Corps tutors work with children from fourth through eighth grade to provide proven research-based instruction and ultimately, guide struggling students toward increased confidence and success in math.
Become a Reading or Math Corps Tutor at Cambridge-Isanti Schools
Would you love to help children grow their reading skills and succeed in school? If your answer is yes, you can serve as a tutor with Minnesota Reading Corps. Use the links below to learn more.
To learn more about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.
Tammy Kraft, Federal Programs Coordinator
School Readiness / Preschool
Cambridge-Isanti Preschool provides educational experiences that enhance the cognitive, literacy, emotional, social and physical development of children ages three to five years. The Cambridge-Isanti Preschool’s Focus of Learning is based on the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress from the Minnesota Department of Education. Meaningful unit themes spark children's interest and connect the different learning areas of the lesson plan. Various learning activities that relate to and expand each unit theme maximize the learning experience. The preschool staff is responsible for planning and creating activities that help children experience the joy of learning. Overall, our goal is to help children develop the foundational skills and attitudes that will contribute to future educational success.
Cambridge-Isanti Preschool offers many class sections for preschool-age children. These classes are designed for 3 & 4 Year Olds or 4 & 5 Year Olds (if your child is four and will be starting Kindergarten next fall, we recommend the 4 & 5 Year-Old sections). Two-day and Three-day a week options are available.
Kim Goodmanson, Early Childhood Coordinator
Cambridge-Isanti Schools provides a comprehensive program for students with disabilities. Services are provided to students who range in age from birth through high school, with a few students receiving help until age 21. All services are developed to facilitate each student in reaching his or her potential. Each school site has staff members licensed to provide special education and related services for those students who meet criteria and have special education needs.
Inclusive education between regular and special education allows for the opportunity to learn and develop in an age-appropriate setting. From early intervention to community-based vocational training, students are provided a quality, individualized education program in the least restrictive environment as determined by the law and under the guidelines within the district. Special education teams at each school site work in conjunction with a student’s regular classroom teachers, support staff and parents.
Parents and students are directly involved with school and appropriate outside agency staff in the development of the special education program and the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) for school-age children, Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) for children in Early Childhood Special Education, or Individual Interagency Intervention Plan (IIIP) for students getting services from multiple agencies.
Special services for students with a disability may begin at birth or as soon as criteria is met and the need for special education services is determined. Students are eligible for special education services until data and evidence show an IEP can be terminated by the team overseeing the plan. Special education services are also terminated when the student graduates from high school or when the student is 21 years of age. Students remain with their general education peers in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to the extent possible, as determined appropriate.
Special education program evaluation is accomplished through a single strategic plan to improve due process compliance and program results for students with disabilities.
Julie Williams, Director of Student Support Services
What is Title I?
Title I is a federally funded program through the Elementary & Secondary Act (ESEA) designed to provide support to students who are performing below grade level in reading and/or math. The goal is to emphasize high academic standards in an effort to help students succeed in the classroom and reach grade level performance.
What are some typical Title I services?
In Cambridge-Isanti Schools our Title I schools have a Schoolwide Title I model which means all students in the school are provided with additional support to address the needs of all the students at that school. Cambridge-Isanti Title I Schoolwide schools focus on providing additional support in reading and math instruction and may provide additional support in attendance, school climate, etc.
Do all Cambridge Isanti Schools have a Title I program?
No. The Federal law requires that Title I programs are available in schools with the greatest concentration of low-income families. Cambridge Isanti Title I schools are Cambridge Primary, Isanti Primary, Cambridge Intermediate and Isanti Intermediate. Please review each school’s website to learn more about their Title I Schoolwide Program.
How are parents/guardians involved?
In schoolwide programs, parents are invited to attend the school’s annual Title I Meeting. Parents, staff and students may participate in the development and carrying out of a compact that spells out the goals and shared responsibilities of the child, school and parents for student success. Parents are encouraged to participate in Title I meetings and learning opportunities.
As a parent/guardian, you have the right to…
- know the qualifications of your child’s teacher
- expect regular communication with your school in a language that you can understand
- know how your child’s school is rated on its state test scores
- work with other parents and staff to develop a school-level parent compact between the school and its families
- work with teachers, parents and the school principal to develop your school’s family involvement plan
Parent's Right to Know
At the beginning of each school year, school districts must notify parents of children attending Title I schools that they can request information regarding their children's teachers. In addition, if students are taught by a teacher who is not highly qualified the parents of students in Title I schools must be notified, in a timely manner, if their child has been assigned to, or has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by, a teacher who is not highly qualified. Please know that ALL Cambridge-Isanti teachers are highly qualified.
We are excited that you are taking the time to support your child’s learning through Title I services.
Our goal in Title I is to help children understand the basics of math and reading in order for them to be successful in their grade level classroom instruction. It is important that we work together as parents, students, and teachers to ensure that your child reaches his or her academic standards. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child, please feel free to contact us.
Tammy Kraft, Federal programs Coordinator